Now that the congressional supercommittee has failed to reach an agreement on how to cut the budget deficit, each party will seek to garner political leverage from the predicament, The Hill
Republicans will try to portray Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals who are unwilling to face up to the need for cutbacks in entitlements. And Democrats will seek to brand Republicans as scrooges who were unwilling to raise taxes on the wealthy but happy to cut back entitlements for the elderly and poor.
“We’ll have a very clear-cut fight. Democrats will argue that Republicans want to slash entitlements, and we’ll talk about them wanting $1.3 trillion in tax increases,” former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., a special adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, told The Hill. “It’s [a] pretty stark contrast. It’s not clear how that debate goes, because a lot of people want us to raise taxes on the rich thinking it will solve the problem, which it won’t.”
President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have their positions staked out. Obama will accuse the GOP of coddling up to millionaires and billionaires.
And Romney already has started laying into Obama for having “no involvement in the process,” as he put it Monday.
“I would have anticipated that the president of the United States would have spent every day, and many nights, working with members of the supercommittee to try to find ways to bridge the gap,” Romney said.
Senate Republicans say they will use Democrats’ positions during supercommittee deliberations against vulnerable lawmakers, such as Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. The GOP message will center on Democratic support for major tax increases.
“Every Senate Democrat facing re-election next year will have to explain to voters why they supported $1 trillion in new taxes on job creators to pay for even more failed government stimulus spending,” Brian Walsh, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Hill.
Democrats, meanwhile, say the supercommittee’s failure gives them a clean shot at Republicans for seeking cuts in Medicare.
But Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the GOP co-chairman of the supercommittee, said Democrats aren’t on solid ground there.
“Republicans put forth a plan that was in our budget. It was rejected by Democrats. We went and then gave them the bipartisan plan, the Rivlin-Domenici Medicare plan, which was principally drafted by the Democrat Alice Rivlin,” Hensarling told “Fox News Sunday.”
Jim Kessler, co-founder of the Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, told The Hill, “Both parties think no deal is a good deal for them politically.”
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